Reliability was the first and most important design requirement for SETPOINT®, and it drove a series of key architecture decisions that support superior system reliability. Below, you'll find seven reasons the SETPOINT® architecture provides inherently better reliability.
1. Self-Contained Monitor Module Design
The SETPOINT® UMM and TMM are completely self-contained units. By simply applying +24V power to these modules, they are fully functional. They will power and test sensors for valid inputs, convert analog sensor voltages to measured values, compare these values to alarm setpoints, provide USB and 4 to 20mA outputs, and drive relays that are resident on the UMM and TMM circuit boards. Connect the sensors to the front of the monitor and right below the sensor connections are the critical alarm outputs. In fact, the UMM and TMM are so complete and so “smart” that they can actually test themselves during our manufacturing process.
What it means to you: No “handoff” of alarm statuses to external relay cards, no separate cards for transducer connections, and no master system card needed for 24/7 online availability.
2. Independent, Redundant Power Distribution
The SETPOINT® power distribution system is completely independent and redundant. Two power connections are provided on the RCM module, and these inputs provide completely separate 24Vdc power to all of the SETPOINT® cards in the rack. Each SETPOINT® card takes this 24V power and creates all of the voltages it needs to operate its circuitry and power its connected sensors. In the unlikely event that a SETPOINT® card would develop a short-circuit fault, only that card would be affected; the other cards in the system would automatically switch to the redundant power input.
What it means to you: No centralized location where critical voltages (such as transducer power) are developed. Each module creates the voltages it needs, eliminating system-wide single-point failure locations.
3. Native 24Vdc Power
Many of our SETPOINT® customers already have high-reliability 24Vdc instrument power available. With SETPOINT®, we do not place a second power supply between this 24V source and the actual monitors that do the work. We simply distribute that power along our backplane where it can be used independently by each system module. For those customers that need other supply voltages, we support 110/220 VAC, 400/500 VAC 3-phase, 90-250 VDC, and several others via external power supplies from some of the leading names in the business – companies that design and build power supplies for a living like Phoenix, Weidmuller, and Traco. This gives SETPOINT customers the best price and highest reliability possible for their critical machinery protection systems. We are also one of the few companies that situates these supplies external to our system, reduces internal rack temperatures and thus extending electronic component life.
What it means to you: No unnecessary components between the monitor modules and the power source – less heat for greater electronic component life and improved reliability.
4. Robust Construction
The mechanical design for the SETPOINT rack relies on heavy-duty machined aluminum rack pieces specifically designed for the wide variety of industrial environments the system is likely to encounter. The rack is very stiff with overlapping joints to provide good resistance to external electrical and RF noise sources. Modern, high-reliability circuit board connectors are used throughout the assembly, maintaining separation between power, relay, communications, and signal interfaces. Even the touchscreen display has been carefully selected for outstanding robustness by using the same assemblies as used in the automotive industry, suitable for a wide range of temperature and vibration.
What it means to you: A rack that is imperfious to electromagnetic interference, a rack that won’t develop intermittent connection problems, a rack that is designed to withstand the rigrors of industrial used, and a rack that will provide reliable service for many years to come.
5. Robust Design Methodology
Critical to reliability is the overall design methodology. Ours is second to none. We insist on extensive product definition, worst-case scenarios, component selection that keeps wattages and voltages to no more than 50% of maximum ratings, rigorous design reviews, and complete environmental testing. Our software and firmware designs employ modern operating systems and agile design/test practices.
What it means to you: A system that incorporates robust design methodologies, extensive testing, conservative component selection, and rigorous reviews is a system that delivers robust, highly-reliable performance.
6. Multiple, Segregated Processors and Operating Systems
The SETPOINT® system employs progressive segregation of functions to help manage the interrelationship between processors and operating systems. The UMM and TMM have extremely powerful digital signal processors with an embedded real-time operating system that focuses on real-time hardware management and is impervious to malicious attacks. The SAM has two processors: one that is dedicated to basic functionality and embedded protocol communications with external systems, and one that drives our touchscreen display. This architecture has many advantages. For instance, a failure of the processor or operating system driving the touchscreen display will not affect the communications link with a DCS, or the operation of UMM or TMM modules and their machinery protection functions.
What it means to you: Each microprocessor in the system is focused on a specific task and cannot adverserly affect the operation of other microprocessors. Segregation ensures that a failure will be isolated to a single module, not machinery protective functions of the entire rack, and that critical functionality is isolated from convenience features.
7. Mean-time-Between-Failure (MTBF) Exceeding 4X Design Life
While we have designed SETPOINT® to be extremely reliable, the real story is in the numbers. T-Cubed, a leading independent engineering company, recently verified our SETPOINT® system reliability using Telcordia SR-332 (issue 2) failure rate models*. Our UMM card, for example, exhibited an MTBF of 69 years while operating at an elevated temperature of 35C. That is more than 4 times our designed monitoring system operational lifespan of 15 years.
What it means to you: We have designed the SETPOINT® system to provide a minimum of 15 years of operating service. Our predicted failure rates are more than four times this long, helping to minimize the likelihood of a system failure during its operating lifetime.
* Upon request, SETPOINT® can supply a detailed report of these results.